2020 Holiday Movie Fest: 10 New Films Ranked

As the countdown to Christmas continues, my elfish quest to watch as many new 2020 holiday movies does too. While none of the films reach the storytelling depths of years gone by, I did manage to find a handful of glittery nuggets in this year’s offerings. As a lover of most things Xmas, “The Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular”, mince tarts and spiked eggnog I have not only watched all of these holiday films, but also ranked them for you, from 1 to 10.

Here is my tinsel-filled roundup 🎄 ranked best to worst:

1. Happiest Season (Hulu)

This year’s breakout holiday season romcom co-written and directed by funny lady Clea DuVall (of Veep fame), stars the highly likeable Kristen Stewart and Dan Levy. Driving home together to spend the holidays with her conservative family, Harper (Mackenzie Davis) tells her steamy lover, Abby (Kristen Stewart) she’s still in the closet. With old boyfriends mysteriously popping up, sibling rivalry game on, and mum instagramming everything, this heartfelt movie is fun and gets it oh so right.  

2. Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (Netflix)

A big budget musical fantasy feature film produced by John Legend, starring Forest Whitaker and Keegan-Michael Key. We’ve not seen Mr Whitaker in eons and this film reminds me of how great his range is. I’m always down for a musical, fantasy and I love puppetry, so for me this one is holiday perfection.

3. The Christmas Chronicles 2 (Netflix)

What’s not to love about watching real life couple Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn together again as Santa and Mrs. Claus? Decked out in form-fitting, red shearling trench coats, the race is on for the original holiday makers and their elf army to stop the meddling Belsnickel (played by New Zealand’s Julian Dennison), from ruining Christmas.

4. Angela’s Christmas Wish (Netflix)

This delightful animated short film for kids, a sequel to 2017’s Angela’s Christmas, tells the story of a young Irish girl Angela and her family in 1913 as they try to make the best of things while their father is away working in Australia. Hatching a plan to dig Down Under and bring her dad home, Angela is determined to surprise her mum for Christmas.

5. Operation Christmas Drop (Netflix)

Wholesome romantic comedy loosely based on the real-life U.S. Air Force Operation Christmas Drop humanitarian mission. Pardon the pun, but this one ticks all of the G.I. movie style-book bases and there’s a gekko, which is always a good sign.

6. Alien Xmas (Netflix)

This one is definitely for the young kids, but as a fan of animated shorts, I had to check it out. As the story goes, greedy color-sapped aliens want “stuff” and where else but earth at Christmas time can an alien smash and grab all the “stuff” holiday dreams are made of. I really enjoyed this fun little tale.

7. Holidate (Netflix)

This MA (really should be R) rated comedy starring Australia’s Luke Bacey and Emma Roberts (Julia’s niece) in a strangers-without-benefits romp features a great cast with plenty of crude and fun moments. For me, this one needed a stronger hand in the editing room to reach the “Bridesmaids meets Hangover for the Holidays” heights it was going for.

8. Midnight At The Magnolia (Netflix)

Romantic comedy about childhood friends who go on to co-host a radio talk show together. The characters are likeable, the plot is soundly predictable and everything is as sweet like a white chocolate latte.

9. A New York Christmas Wedding (Netflix)

If you look past the “shot on my i-phone” production values, this rough little indy movie actually works pretty well. Loosely inspired by the 1946 classic “It’s A Wonderful Life,” our lead character is now queer, hails from Queens and also walks the street in pajamas.

10. Christmas on the Square (Netflix)

Having enjoyed Dolly Parton’s 2016 Christmas of Many Colors, I went in with high hopes for this one. Overstuffed, over-danced and overdubbed, sadly Dolly nor Christine Baranski’s star power could save this movie from ranking on the bottom of my holiday movie fest list. But as they say, someone has to take the wooden spoon. 

Final thoughts

I’ve never watched so many Christmas movies in one season before but with 2020 being so weird, I admit to getting completely hooked on the happy! We hope you enjoy your holiday movie fest and here’s to a peaceful, relaxing Christmas and hope-filled New Year! 🎅🦌

If you have a favorite ‘new’ holiday movie, share it with us in the comments.

Author: Robyn Sunderland

Robyn moved to New York over twenty years ago and has been an AWNY volunteer since 2019. She has worked in politics, diplomacy, strategic marketing and theatrical general management. She is currently a theatrical booking and promotions manager, and hails from Melbourne (by way of rural Victoria). Find her on Instagram: @rjsunders

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